“Australian doctors support the British Medical Association’s announcement to dump investments in fossil fuels”
Hundreds of doctors across Australia have welcomed the British Medical Association’s announcement to divest from fossil fuels during its annual general meeting yesterday (Wednesday). http://www.medact.org/news/uk-doctors-vote-end-investments-fossil-fuel-industry/
Doctors for the Environment Australia, a medical advocacy group that raises awareness of the health impacts of environmental damage, is urging all health practitioners and their institutions to follow the example of the BMA.
“The movement of investments out of fossil fuels is something doctors should all actively pursue as part of our duty of care to our patients,” says spokesperson for DEA, Dr Helen Redmond who is a physician in Sydney. “The urgency to act now to protect the health of current and future generations could not be clearer.
“A swift transition to renewables for power generation will deliver a big health dividend from reduction in air pollution caused by the mining and combustion of coal. The health costs from coal are over $2.6 billion a year in Australia.”
Dr Redmond and many other DEA members participated in the National Day of Divestment in May this year. The doctors put their principles to action and moved their personal accounts away from banks with big investments in new coal and gas projects.
Says Dr Redmond, “Not many doctors would be happy with investing their money in tobacco companies, given the large burden of ill health caused by smoking. Climate change is the biggest global health threat of our time so it is unethical to invest in fossil fuels. Lives are being lost and countless more are suffering ill health as a result of the one degree of warming we are already experiencing.
“Most of us are unaware how heavily our bank or superannuation fund is invested in fossil fuels. To have even a chance of remaining within the two degree temperature rise agreed internationally, 80% of current fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground. The only way that is going to happen is if they lose financial support and the social license to operate. Divestment aids both these objectives.”
The BMA’s decision to divest from fossil fuel investments has come on the back of a recent speech by US President Obama which emphasised the impacts of climate change on health.
Dr Helen Redmond 0414 229 089 (NSW)
Dr George Crisp 0422 057 351 (WA)